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Not everyone with a new iPhone 12 will get faster 5G connection

David Brancaccio, Nova Safo, and Alex Schroeder Oct 14, 2020
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Apple pointed out that its new iPhones are compatible with millimeter wave 5G, at least in the U.S., but not everyone will have access to those networks yet. Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Not everyone with a new iPhone 12 will get faster 5G connection

David Brancaccio, Nova Safo, and Alex Schroeder Oct 14, 2020
Heard on:
Apple pointed out that its new iPhones are compatible with millimeter wave 5G, at least in the U.S., but not everyone will have access to those networks yet. Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images
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The iPhone 12, with speedier 5G connectivity, has now been unveiled. But is it enough to get current iPhone users to pay to upgrade? Not all 5G is created equal, which could lead to some new iPhone 12 disappointment.

Marketplace’s Nova Safo has more on this. The following is an edited transcript of his conversation with “Marketplace Morning Report” host David Brancaccio.

David Brancaccio: Nova, what’s with the 5G?

Nova Safo: Well, the fastest of these new networks are called millimeter wave 5G, and they’re just not fully there yet. They’re still being built. Carriers are forecast to spend $275 billion building up these networks.

And while Apple pointed out that its new iPhones are compatible with millimeter wave 5G, at least in the United States, few people will have access to these fastest-of-fast networks right now, where you can quickly download a movie, things like that.

A truly nationwide fully 5G network is probably a few years away, and some rural areas might still not have it then.

Brancaccio: So why, then, has Apple going 5G been so hotly anticipated?

Safo: For one, it could mean selling a lot more iPhones, akin to the iPhone 6. When Apple boosted the screen size, a lot of people upgraded. Apple sold more than 10 million units in the first three days after launch back then. Perhaps 5G is now also a significant enough change to prompt more upgrades?

The other thing is that this could be a boost for 5G. It’s no secret we already have these faster phones out there. Samsung has 5G phones out. But Apple, for better or worse, tends to set the standard for broader adoption, so analysts are looking to see if that’s the case again now.

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